Webb Leads in Tulsa

By Sports NetworkSeptember 5, 2003, 4:00 pm
TULSA, Okla. --Karrie Webb posted a 5-under-par 65 Friday to grab the lead after the opening round of the John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic at Tulsa Country Club. Donna Andrews is alone in second place one stroke further back.
 
Tammie Green notched a 3-under-par 67 to stand alone in third place. Green is followed by Young-A Yang, Dorothy Delasin and Cristie Kerr, who are tied at minus-2.
 
Webb had a very steady round before closing with a bang. She got on the board when she sank an 18-foot birdie putt at the par-4 fifth. The Australian then posted nine consecutive pars.
 
'I got off to a pretty slow start,' Webb said. 'I played pretty sketchy on the front nine, but managed to make one birdie and actually got up-and-down a couple of times.'
 
Down the stretch, Webb was zoned in. She dropped a wedge within 12 feet for birdie at the 15th. Her third to the par-5 16th came to rest about the same distance away and she made it two in a row when that putt dropped.
 
Webb, who owns 28 career LPGA Tour titles, stuck her 8-iron 12 feet from the cup on the 17th to make it three straight. At the last, she hit the same club onto the green and sank that putt to close with four straight birdies.
 
'I just wasn't hitting it real close until the last four holes,' Webb said. 'I hit it inside 15 feet really. I at least had a couple of chances and made the most of them and made some birdies coming in.'
 
Andrews seemed to be in control early on, but her late struggles cost her the overnight lead. Andrews opened with three consecutive birdies. At the first, she rolled home an eight-foot birdie, before sinking a 24-footer at the next. She dropped her third shot to the par-5 third within two feet for a kick-in birdie.
 
Andrews had a similar run later on the front side. She rolled home a 15-footer for birdie at the par-3 fifth and followed by draining a 24-foot birdie try at the next. She capped this run of three straight by chipping in from over the green on the seventh.
 
Her momentum ended quickly though. She missed the green at the par-4 eighth and was unable to get up-and-down for par. Around the turn, Andrews' struggles continued. She bogeyed the par-4 12th and three-putted for bogey at the 15th.
 
She was able to come back with a birdie at the last when her pitching-wedge stopped within one foot of the cup.
 
'Unfortunately having shot a 62 here two years ago, everybody was reminding me of it,' said Andrews. 'With the gallery cheering for me and saying things like 'Just like last time,' it was hard not to think about.'
 
Andrews has been battling back problems the last several weeks and they continued Friday.
 
'I have not played that much in the last six weeks and hit mainly three- quarter shots today to keep my back feeling good,' Andrews said. 'It still gives me a little trouble if I am standing downhill.'
 
Defending champion Annika Sorenstam, who returned to action for the first time since winning the Women's British Open early in August, carded a 1-under-par 69. She made the turn at 1-over, but ran off four consecutive birdies to climb to 2-under. Her run ended with a bogey on No. 16 that dropped her in to a tie for seventh.
 
Sorenstam is joined at minus-1 by Karen Pearce, Stacy Prammanasudh, Karen Stupples, Rachel Teske, Dawn Coe-Jones, Penny Hammel, Loraine Lambert, Mardi Lunn, Jill McGill and Gloria Park.
 
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.